Costs

2015/16 Annual Report

One of the primary functions of the Costs Committee is to make recommendations to the Law Society’s Council in relation to reviews conducted by the statutory Legal Costs Committee (LCC).

In 2015/16, the Law Society made detailed submissions in relation to reviews of the scales of costs for litigious matters.

The Law Society also made a submission on the proposal by the LCC to introduce an additional level category of practitioner other than ‘junior practitioner’ and ‘senior practitioner’. Despite the Law Society opposing the change, on 1 July 2016 the LCC introduced a ‘restricted practitioner’ category into the scales.

Other matters considered by the Committee in 2015/2016 included:

  • contacting the Attorney General in relation to reform of the Suitors’ Fund;
  • costs law reform, and particularly alternatives to time billing and investigating costs budgeting;
  • the costs charged for bailiff services in the Magistrates Court by Baycorp and associated levels of service;
  • the Productivity Commission Report on Access to Justice and the proposal for contingency fees;
  • ongoing revisions to the Law Society’s standard costs agreement and explanatory notes in the light of court decisions;
  • the date from which interest runs on taxed costs;
  • amendments to the Supreme Court fee regulations and standard costs orders for interlocutory matters; and
  • billing issues identified by Ms P Rezos who kindly attends our meetings on behalf of the Legal Practice Complaints Committee and educating members in this regard, including but not limited to credit card surcharges and travelling costs.

The Committee has been strengthened by the addition of new members this year, Richard Graham and Amy Pascoe.

The Committee could not function properly without the considerable efforts of all of its members and secretary.

The Committee thanks the Law Society staff and all members of the Committee for their efforts over the past year.

In particularly thank you to the outgoing Convenor, Stewart Forbes. Stewart has been the Convenor since 2005 and has decided to step down from that role – however will remain a valuable member of the Committee. Stewart has been responsible for much the success of the Committee during his tenure as Convenor.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au